Last spring, Proskauer launched a partnership with the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) – an organization focused on empowering Asian American, immigrant, and low-income communities in New York City. Continuing our partnership, we launched an “Advancing Social Justice Summer Teen Series,” where a select group of students took part in a six-week series where conversations addressed paths to law school and social justice issues.
Proskauer honored its lawyers and staff who have made significant contributions to the Firm’s pro bono and corporate social responsibility programs this year at its 12th Annual Golden Gavel Awards ceremony on January 22. The following is a list of recipients alphabetically by project.
Protecting Immigrant Youth
Team New Orleans: Catholic Charities-Archdiocese of New Orleans – Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
In collaboration with Catholic Charities-Archdiocese of New Orleans, this team successfully represented six immigrant children from Honduras and El Salvador in obtaining predicate orders from Louisiana juvenile courts finding that the children cannot be reunified with one or both of their parents due to abuse, abandonment, or neglect, and that it would not be in the children’s best interest to return to their home countries. These predicate orders open the door for these children to apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, an immigration remedy that would protect these children from deportation and give them a pathway to lawful permanent residence in the United States.
Earlier this month, Proskauer filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in support of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ ban on assault weapons, such as the AK-47 or the AR-15, and large-capacity magazines. We filed the brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Worman v. Healey, a case challenging the ban on Second Amendment grounds. Partner Kimberly Mottley and I led the team, with Lindsey Olson Collins and Steven A. Sutro co-authoring the brief.
Since 1998, Massachusetts has banned the sale and possession within the state of military-style assault weapons and large capacity magazines. These same weapons were used in some of America’s deadliest mass shootings: Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut; the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida; the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada; Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; and most recently, the Temple of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The popularity of such assault weapons among perpetrators led the New York Times to dub them the “rifles of choice for mass shootings.”
Wendy Dessy, Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility: What role does public service play in Proskauer’s summer program?
Caroline: Proskauer has a longstanding tradition of public service, and I’m proud to call it a big part of our summer program. After Hurricane Katrina, we sent summer associates from every office to New Orleans to help with the clean-up. We worked with Habitat for Humanity to build houses for those who lost their homes. Proskauer has an office in New Orleans. It was very important for us to support our colleagues and their surrounding community during that critical time, and we went back to New Orleans for three years. That is just my favorite example, but every year all of our summer associates are encouraged to get involved in some form of public service.
Wendy: Do you provide pro bono opportunities for summer associates?
Caroline: Pro bono is an important part of Proskauer’s culture. Summer associates have advocated for domestic violence survivors seeking orders of protection in New York City family courts alongside attorneys from Sanctuary for Families, and they have drafted petitions to seal the decades-old criminal records of low-income New Yorkers as a means of removing barriers to employment and housing. One summer associate teamed up with a Proskauer attorney to help an immigrant survivor of domestic violence petition for her child to obtain a visa in the hope of reuniting in the United States after three years of separation. Another summer associate assisted in drafting a film production contract for the Universal Hip Hop Museum.